It will be months before a state budget is ratified. Finally, we will learn if our legislators listened to the concerns of Maine residents regarding the governor’s proposal to eventually eliminate revenue sharing to municipalities that rely on those funds to keep property taxes down.

In many towns, budget decisions are being made without any real knowledge of the outcome. Town meeting season begins, and most municipalities have the difficult task of building budgets that may or may not create a burden on local taxpayers.

Some towns will begin the difficult decision of making cuts to essential and non-essential services to stave off a potential jump in property taxes. Councils and selectboards will be forced to pit town services against one another. Would residents prefer cuts to highway departments or police departments? Is it really a city’s responsibility to donate to a food bank, or a mental health organization? Do we really need to maintain a public library? In most towns, access to the library is an essential service cherished by the citizenry — especially children.

Libraries have no more places to make cuts without cutting services or closing down. If revenue sharing is not fully funded as it is statutorily mandated, many great Maine towns will attempt to reduce or eliminate funding for their libraries. Libraries may be low-hanging fruit when difficult budget cut decisions are made because of lack of funding.

I encourage residents of Pittston and West Gardiner to attend their upcoming town meetings, Saturday and March 28, respectively, so that all voices may be heard regarding library services. The Gardiner library is a true regional service and the great service it offers may only be maintained by keeping the partnerships strong.

Anne Davis, director

Gardiner Public Library


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